University of Nevada, Las Vegas

page 34

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HARRY STIMLERI N a cosy little cottage on one of the best residence streets of the Nevada Eldorado there lives a young, wiry chap, who undoubtedly is one of the most interesting products of the great Nevada desert. Harry Stimler, the man who first pitched his tent on what now is known as the Goldfield Mining District. About three years ago, a poor, but hopeful prospector, now a mining king. That is the story of this man's career.One hot summer day in July of 1903 he left his humble home in Tonopah, with his burros as sole company. After a hard thirty-mile tramp across the burning sands he pitched camp at nightfall at the foot of a mountain, now worth millions of dollars, then nothing but an output of the magic Sierras. The hill looked good to the experienced eye of the desert-traveler and the next morning he started on a prospecting trip to the highest peak. He soon made up his mind that it would pay to put up a "few location monuments," and with the promptness so closely identified with these goldhunters, he set to work. He was grubstaked to the extent of $150 by some Tonopah friends, one of whom was Jim Butler, the discoverer of Tonopah. After staking about fifty claims he started to do the location work demanded by law.While he was at work a prospector friend passed his lonely camp and asked for shelter for the night. By the camp-fire it was suggested that Harry Stimler give this friend a chance to locate some of these claims for himself. Stimler immediately pointed out a large area which by right was his and gave his friend permission to "kick down" his monuments and put up some of his own. By this process, the present January, Mohawk, Combination, Red Top and Jumbo mines "changed hands." Today they represent an aggregate value of about $12,000,000.Harry thought he had enough in keeping the Sandstorm, Kendall, Columbia Mountain, and a few others, and also the little townsite of Columbia, which is now a thriving community at the foot of Columbia Mountain and a suburb of Goldfield.The "mining man" and the promoter soon followed the prospector on news of the strike being known. A deal was quickly closed whereby Harry became a rich man, though he sold his holdings at less than 5 per cent of their present value.Generosity and good-fellowship, ill-fortune, etc., soon helped to part him from his bank account. Before long the young pioneer was again "dead broke." To this he owes the discovery of the rich Palmetto country.Again the pack-saddles were stocked with "grub" and blankets, the canteen filled, and off again he traveled south, in search of other treasures, of new mining districts, of some more "gold." This time, he had to travel further; many a day passed with the sun rising in her glory and setting again without revealing anything but sand and sagebrush; but further he journeyed, always hopeful of better days. Finally he reached the north entrance to Death Valley, that sinister portion of the globe which seems to be a product of Creation's worst humor, and which deserves its name more so than any other parcel of this great world. There, overlooking miles upon miles of dead and desolate ridges and gulches, he once again pitched his lonely camp and laid his tired body to rest up for another day's hard journey.In looking over the ground the next day where his tent was pitched he found a good looking ledge and a "panning" soon revealed the presence of gold. Knowing that he was not far from the old Palmetto mines, which had been worked years ago by the Spaniards, he named the district the Palmetto district and his first mine which he staked, the Palmetto and Death Valley mine. After staking all the claims that showed indications of gold he hurried back to Goldfield with "success" written all over his keen and intelligent face.This time he did not sell for a song, as they say out here, but associated himself with capitalists who helped him develop the new mine. A stampede to the new district followed, and today that lonesome spot of the desert is the seat of a prosperous little town called Palmetto. With a five-stamp mill, working day and night, several hoisting plants, great ore dumps and a splendid mine it promises to be a great producer. Offers for the mine have been made, to all of which Harry Stimler has a good-hearted smile and a pleasant, but determined "not for sale."

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page 34
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